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Drone strike kills four Al Qaeda suspects in Yemen

Drone strike kills four Al Qaeda suspects in Yemen

ADEN: A presumed United States (US) drone strike has killed four suspected members of Al Qaeda in central Yemen, a security official said on Wednesday.

The raid targeted their vehicle on Tuesday evening near the border of Baida and Shabwa provinces, the official said.

The US is the only country known to operate armed drones over Yemen.

It has kept up strikes on militants during months of fighting between pro-government forces and Shia Huthi rebels who control the capital.

Yemen, home to what the US considers Al Qaeda's most dangerous affiliate, has been convulsed by unrest since the Houthis seized Sanaa in September last year.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has exploited the turmoil to tighten its grip on parts of southeast Yemen, including Mukalla, the capital of Hadramawt province, imposing a strict form of Islamic law.

Unidentified gunmen shot dead a Yemeni army colonel and a southern resistance leader in Aden on Tuesday night, a local official said, the latest in a string of assassinations in the city often carried out by militants.

The gunmen opened fire on a car carrying resistance leader Jalal al-Awbali and the unidentified colonel in the Dar Saad district of northern Aden, killing them both immediately, the official said.

Militants from both Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Yemeni wing of the militant Islamic State (IS) group have staged attacks throughout southern parts of Yemen, including in Aden, for years.

The rate of attacks in Aden has accelerated since July, when local forces backed by the government of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and a Saudi-led military alliance recaptured the city from the Houthi militia after months of street fighting.

Insecurity in Aden, the biggest prize yet won by Hadi in Yemen's nine-month civil war, threatens to undermine the campaign waged on his behalf against the Houthis and army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Western nations have been quietly increasing pressure on Saudi Arabia to seek a political deal to end the conflict, United Nations (UN) diplomats have said.

The country's warring parties have accused each other of violations of a ceasefire that began on December 15.

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